York County COVID-19 cases at all-time high; officials warn of fall resurgence

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Daily COVID-19 cases in York County

The number of daily increases in new COVID-19 cases in York County continued to smash records as the state health officials warned of a fall resurgence. 

The county's highest single-day increase came on Saturday, coming in at 146 new cases — breaking the 129-case increase on Sept. 12, the previous record. As of Monday, the county averaged 75 new cases per day in November, beating the previous record of 67 in October.

"We are now seeing the highest case counts of the COVID-19 pandemic across Pennsylvania that we have seen since the beginning," Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday. "This is a sobering look at our current reality."

More:Coronavirus pandemic: Here's what York County's data looks like

More:York County has 170 new cases of COVID-19 over two-day period

Statewide, Pennsylvania averaged 2,580 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, according to The New York Times. That is a 72% increase compared with two weeks ago.

The state Health Department has specifically noted increases among those between the ages of 19 and 24, who as of Monday made up nearly 14% of the state's total 234,296 cases.

Although county-level data isn't available, 9% of cases in the south-central region came from that age group, up from 7% in April. 

State officials and Dr. Matt Howie, director of York City's health bureau, have attributed much of the recent surge in cases to community spread.

Howie on Monday said he is not surprised at the increases, based on state trends, which have gotten worse as temperatures have dropped, some schools remained open and people attended inside gatherings.

"This is widespread community spread," Howie said. "And it's very taxing on the system. It's challenging the public health structures that weren't really designed to do this for long periods of time."

State and local health departments have often used the metric of daily cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period.

As of Sunday, York County's average daily cases over the last 14 days was 236 per 100,000 people, the highest it has ever been.

That ranks only 40th in the state as other counties see massive increases, according to a Spotlight PA analysis. The county's average on Monday jumped to 240, but county-level comparisons were not yet available.

Despite the state and 47 counties seeing upward trends in terms of cases, according to Spotlight PA, some progress has been made in York County in terms of infection rates.

Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5, the most recent data made available by the state Health Department, York's infection rate came in at 5.9%, ranking 45th in the state. That's down from 7.2% in the previous seven-day period.

The statewide infection rate during the most recent seven-day period was 6.9%.

York County's death rate as of Monday was 47.5 per 100,000 people. That falls below the state's death rate of 70.5 per 100,000 people, according to state data last updated on Friday.

Officials from WellSpan are slated to hold a digital news conference Wednesday to talk about its "plans to address this fall surge of cases and hospitalization rate," said spokesperson Ryan Coyle.

As of now, though, he said, WellSpan hospitals remain "adequately equipped."

On Monday, there were 69 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in York County, four of whom were on ventilators, according to the state Health Department. Thirty-three of the county's total of 96 ventilators are in use.

The following percentage of  beds are available: About 17% of adult ICU beds; 43% of surgical or medical beds; 13% of pediatric beds; and 19% of airborne isolation beds.

There are no pediatric ICU beds available.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.